The successful Fireball event in October raised thousands of dollars for the local CFA groups
The successful Fireball event in October raised thousands of dollars for the local CFA groups
Some of the highlights from the Great Warrandyte Cook-up
SHAREHOLDERS and representatives from organisations in Warrandyte and surrounds filled the Mechanics Institute Hall last month for the Warrandyte Community Bank’s annual general meeting and official announcements of grants and scholarships.
A total of $377,000 was allocated to almost 70 groups to go towards projects, community programs and infrastructure within the community.
Warrandyte Community Bank has now returned an incredible $1.7 million in grants and sponsorships since its inception in 2003.
With an upbeat energy in the room there was a strong sense of gratitude expressed to outgoing chair Sarah Wrigley.
Many of the grants and sponsorship recipients thanked Sarah for the years of dedication and commitment she had made to the program and the bank itself.
One very happy recipient was Warrandyte High School, which received $25,000. In a joint submission with the Lions Club of Warrandyte, the school had sought funding to asphalt the car park behind the school basketball stadium.
Dr Stephen Parkin, principal of Warrandyte High School, thanked Sarah for her “significant contributions to the Warrandyte community and to the learning experiences of students at Warrandyte High School”.
Other major projects to receive a community grant or sponsorship included funding to acquire an inflatable rescue boat for Manningham SES.
Greg Mitchell, controller of Manningham Unit SES said it was a “great privilege” working with our community bank on the project.
“The understanding and support given by Sarah and Mark (Challen, bank manager) to our unit to help us replace a very old rescue boat was outstanding,” Greg said.
“Because of the Warrandyte Community Bank’s efforts and dedication to the community, I was honoured to collect a cheque at the AGM to purchase a new rescue boat that will support our local community and the larger Victorian community for many years to come.”
Manningham SES provides rescue services for a large part of the Yarra River from Wonga Park to Dight’s Falls and requires two rescue boats on the water in any situation.
Also in attendance was Manningham Community Health’s Jenny Jackson, who said Manningham Community Health Services was thrilled to partner with Warrandyte Community Bank to support the mental wellbeing of young people in the greater Warrandyte area.
“As CEO of the not-for-profit health service, I am constantly delighted to see the wonderful work of our local Bendigo Bank branches in bringing all members of the community together in such a meaningful way for the benefit of the whole community,” Jenny said. “Being present at the AGM was yet another opportunity to observe genuine community partnership and I urge all Manningham community residents to support their local Bendigo Bank branches so that this great community partnership work can flourish even further.”
Aaron Farr, in his address as incoming chairman, told the audience he has “some very large footsteps to follow” and in doing so looks forward to embarking on his new role.
“In continuing the role of chairman I look forward to leading our community bank in building on the foundations set in place,” Aaron said.
“With continued and ongoing growth, the Warrandyte Community Bank will be well placed to contribute more financially to the community into the future.”
Also in attendance were the bank’s scholarship recipients, Gabrielle Mitchell (2013), Mitchell Dawson (2014), Nik Henkes (2014) and Joshua McMullen (2014).
Josh said the scholarship had helped him immensely with tertiary studies.
“It took off a lot of stress normally associated with the beginning of a year at university with purchasing textbooks and other supplies, and helped me cruise on in to my year of study with a positive attitude,” Josh said.
“It’s not your everyday bank!”
Those who ride their horses and ponies along the scenic trail believe most dog owners are cautious and friendly, but say a small percentage of dog owners are putting riders and horses at risk of injury by not doing the right thing.
“Most dogs are fine but usually the most aggressive dogs have never seen a horse before,” Warrandyte rider Jane Sutherland said.
“Then there are owners who don’t abide by the on leash area signs.
“A couple of weeks ago my horse was chased by two dogs off lead. They tried to bite my horse’s leg and my friend, who was riding my horse at the time, asked the owner of the dogs to put them on lead because it wasn’t an off lead area.
“So off the lady went but then she came back the other way with the dogs off lead again and they attacked my horse again.”
In another recent incident along the trail a dog tried to bite a pony’s throat and another horse’s back legs, landing the owner a $2500 vet bill.
Jane estimates 50 riders use the trail each week.
However, horses won’t be able to use the trail for much longer.
Manningham council chief executive Joe Carbone says the Warrandyte River Trail is expected to be closed to horses in a year when another horse trail is complete.
“Council is working on an alternate horse trail along Gold Memorial Rd through Warrandyte State Park and ending at Ringwood-Warrandyte Rd,” Mr Carbone said.
“This route will be along quiet local roads and horse trails through the state park with horse and rider safety a priority.”
Removing horses from the Warrandyte River Trail was a recommendation of Council’s Warrandyte River Reserve Management Plan, following two dog attacks on horses in 2012.
However, Lauren, 19, and Eliza, 16, have been riding their horses along the trail since they were eight years old and say it would be upsetting if they could no longer bring their horses along the trail to exercise and swim in the river.
“It would be a major loss for the whole community, not just us,” Lauren said.
“Most people like seeing horses down here, kids especially. Horses
have been a part of this town for so long so it would be really, really sad if that gets taken away from us.”
Jane says many trails around Warrandyte Park have already been closed to horses, mostly due to environmental reasons.
She says the closure of a small trail near Tindals Rd, which many riders rode along to get to pony club, is just one example of how riders are being forced onto roads with potentially life threatening consequences for horses, riders and motorists.
“A couple of months ago a group of kids were riding back from pony club along the side of Tindals Rd and there was a guy on a motorbike flying up Tindals Rd,” Jane said.
“A girl, who was 12 years old, put her hand up to ask him to slow down but instead he deliberately sped up, went as close to her as he could and the horse freaked. She fell off and the horse was running up Tindals Rd without a rider.
“Thankfully there were no injuries but those sort of idiotic things happen often unfortunately. Surely these people wouldn’t put their own animals or their children in that sort of danger, so why would they do it to somebody else?”
For this one will be the 10th Christmas that 12-year-old Isaac McMullen can hear the sound of tearing wrapping paper, can sing along to Christmas carols and listen to his family chatter over the dinner table.
Isaac is profoundly deaf and without his hearing aid and cochlear implant can only hear sounds as loud as a chainsaw or an aeroplane taking off.
“Isaac was first diagnosed on Christmas Eve 2002, so it went from being the worst Christmas ever, completely ruined, to just the happiest time when he was implanted, started speaking and could hear Christmas songs two years later,” his mother Mel told the Diary.
Mel first suspected Isaac was deaf after he slept peacefully through the loud noise of an industrial vacuum cleaner as a baby.
A worker at an early childhood centre told her she was just being paranoid, but after months of closely monitoring her son’s reactions as she intentionally dropped pots and pans around the house, she took Isaac in for an audiogram.
“After he was diagnosed, they told me Isaac could do oral deaf education, which would allow him to still develop his speech and language, or signing. However, if we wanted him to do oral our time was running out because he’d have to know all sounds before he turned two years
old,” Mel said.
His parents, determined for Isaac to have the same opportunities as every other child, had to fight long and hard to secure funding for his expensive implant, which costs thousands of dollars.
“We went through MRI and CAT scans to make sure he was the right candidate for it and they said no to start with. We had to appeal the decision.”
Mel successfully appealed the decision with the help of Professor Graeme Clark, the man responsible for the pioneering research and development of the bionic ear.
His work has brought hearing to more than 200,000 people across the world.
Mel’s great aunt, Gwen, who coincidentally had taught deaf children her entire life, also encouraged her to not give up.
Gwen lived in Warrandyte and was passionate about educating deaf children and she made Mel promise that she would keep fighting for Isaac’s implant.
“After seeing Isaac’s audiogram she burst into tears and she told me ‘get him implanted, you get this child to speak, do it for me’,” Mel said.
“She was 97 when she passed away, about eight months after Isaac was implanted. She glowed when we took him over and she got to hear him speak. She died a happy woman.”
Isaac now hears normally with his implant and hearing aid, which even has a waterproof cover, allowing him to go swimming with his three brothers.
His family says moving to Warrandyte has been one of the best things for Isaac because he gets to listen to the sounds of cockatoos, king parrots and rainbow lorikeets around their house every day.
Isaac is also doing extremely well in school at Ringwood North Primary, where his favourite subject is art.
A keen listener of music, he also plays the violin and the piano.
While it’s difficult for people with implants to perfectly mimic music, Isaac’s hearing has developed so well that he’s now starting to correct the sound as he plays sharps and flats on the violin.
“I’m really grateful for the implant because life without it would be sad, like black and white, no colour,” Isaac told the Diary.
As the first baby to receive a cochlear implant at the Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital, Isaac has been credited with helping change some of the perceptions surrounding hearing impairment and deafness.
Earlier this year he travelled to Canberra where he gave a speech in front of the nation’s politicians about how his cochlear implant had transformed his life.
And after the New Year, Isaac will begin high school at Donvale Christian College.
“He will be one of the first profoundly deaf kids to go to a mainstream primary and secondary school, as far as we’re aware,” Mel said.
“It’s a pretty big thing and we’re hoping the government will have a look at and see that the path we chose for Isaac works so they can then give other hearing impaired kids the same opportunities.”